Evansville Drops Baseball, 5-2, In Season Opener
Feb. 18, 2005
Evansville, Ind. - Evansville catcher Dustin Knight roped a bases-loaded RBI single off the glove of University of Illinois at Chicago relief pitcher Zach Peterson in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 2-all tie as the host Purple Aces tallied two more times in the frame to earn the 5-2 non-conference victory and ruin the visiting Flames' season-opener at Charles H. Braun Stadium on Friday afternoon.
"We did a pretty good job out there today," UIC Head Coach Mike Dee said. "We competed really well against a very good team and we had a couple breaks go against us.
"It was great for our first day out."
UIC sophomore pitcher Ryan Zink (0-1), who had allowed just three hits heading into the eighth, surrendered a leadoff infield single to Evansville second baseman Robbie Minor, the Purple Aces' first base-knock since the second inning.
The Madison, Wis., native then issued his sixth walk of the afternoon to Erik Lis, who was attempting a sacrifice bunt to put runners at first and second for the Purple Aces.
Dee brought in Peterson to face Evansville designated hitter Pat Tumilty, who promptly laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both Minor and Lis into scoring position.
Peterson issued an intentional walk to Jeff Fontaine to load the bases for Evansville, setting the stage for Knight's heroics.
Evansville added a pair of insurance runs on a fielders' choice from Joe Tautges and a single from Heath Hamilton to put the game out of reach for the Flames.
Zink was tagged with the loss, surrendering four runs on four hits, while striking out five batters in seven innings of work.
Evansville sophomore reliever Kai Tuomi picked up his second victory of the season, by tossing two innings of scoreless relief. Mark Murray entered the game in the top of the ninth inning, and surrendered one hit on his way to pick up the save.
UIC freshman first baseman Mark Hallberg led the way for the Flames offensively, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Flames' center fielder Larry Gempp and second baseman Mike Bruszer each picked up two hits and a RBI in the defeat.
The Flames and Purple Aces will be back in action on Saturday afternoon, with the first pitch slated for 1:00 p.m.